September 25, 2007

Nouri al-Maliki momentum

Nearly two months after Sunni Arab ministers walked out, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki appears to have weathered a political crisis that once threatened to bring down his government. Using a mix of brinkmanship, political cunning and strong U.S. support, the Shiite leader now appears to have seized the political initiative from his opponents. He dismissed charges by his Sunni Arab critics that he was pursuing sectarian policies. And he brushed aside criticism that he has failed to win over the Arab world's Sunni-dominated regimes. The prime minister also took credit for the U.S.-backed revolt by Sunni tribal chiefs against al-Qaida in Anbar province, a one-time stronghold of insurgents. He blamed parliament for blocking legislation and holding up the appointment of new ministers by often failing to muster a quorum.

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